Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution | 2017 MLS Match Preview
Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution
2017 MLS Regular Season
Toyota Park — Bridgeview, Illinois
Saturday, August 5 – 8:30 pm ET
WATCH: MLS LIVE
The MLS All-Star Game is over and done with, and now the Chicago Fire can turn their focus back to finishing the season as strongly as they started.
Fresh off of hosting this year's All-Star festivities, the Fire welcome Eastern Conference foe the New England Revolution to Toyota Park on Saturday night. Chicago are in need of a victory after losing their last two matches and failing to win in the last three if they wish to stay within striking distance of Toronto FC in the race for the Supporters' Shield. The Fire, however, can take confidence in having beaten the Revolution in their previous two meetings this year, and that another triumph would complete a season sweep.
The Revolution also need of a win after a confidence-boosting shutout victory over the Philadelphia Union last weekend if they are to begin closing the gap on the playoff field. New England currently sit six points below the playoff line in the East, but their recent offensive form suggests a late charge is possible, with nine goals scored in their last three matches.
After a long undefeated streaky, the Fire have hit a bump in the road and have fallen five points behind Toronto FC in the battle for the Supporters' Shield following last weekend's narrow defeat to Sporting Kansas City.
Still, Chicago have plenty of confidence in themselves. Not only have they proven this year that they can score goals in bunches with the likes of Nemanja Nikolic and hot commodity David Accam leading the front line, but the midfield and defense have also improved vastly with the veteran presences of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Dax McCarty.
The first five months of the season have been very good for the Fire, but they know that the job is not done. They still need to finish out the campaign as strong as they started beginning with this home game, especially if they are to reach their potential.
“My sense is that we do we have a really dependable core group of players that enjoy each other,” said Fire GM Nelson Rodriguez. “They have taken that next step from last year. Last year, we learned how to compete, this year we are learning how to win and then the next step beyond that is learn how to be a champion.”
- Suspended: None
- International Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT: M John Goossens (right ankle surgery), GK Jorge Bava (left elbow tendinitis), D Brandon Vincent (quad strain); QUESTIONABLE: M Arturo Alvarez (right calf)
Projected Starting Lineup (4-3-3, left to right): Matt Lampson — Patrick Doody, Joao Meira, Johan Kappelhof, Matt Polster — Dax McCarty, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Juninho — David Accam, Nemanja Nikolic, Michael de Leeuw
Notes: Chicago have won three straight against the Revolution, including two this season. The Fire have not had a four-game winning streak against New England in the regular season since October 6, 2007 to August 10, 2008. ... With a win against the Revolution, the Fire would extend their home winning streak to nine games. It would be tied for the second longest home winning streak of all-time, most recently achieved by the Miami Fusion from August 4, 2000 to June 9, 2001. ... In 1,243 minutes with Juninho on the field this year, Chicago concede an average of 1.4 goals per 90 minutes played this year. In 759 minutes without him on the field, they concede only 0.5 goals per 90 minutes.
New England Revolution
Do not look now, but Kei Kamara is starting to heat up.
A week after questioning publicly whether or not he was the right fit in New England, Kamara bagged a brace to lead his side to a 3-0 triumph over the Union. Kamara now has three goals and one assist in his last two matches, and will be aiming to build on his recent production in order to gain even more confidence and trust from head coach Jay Heaps.
“Kei is putting his head down and working and understanding that we’re trying to get him service, trying to do things to make our entire team better,” Heaps said after last week's lopsided victory. “But in that meantime, he’s working. He worked really hard tonight. I thought tonight he did all of the little things.”
It will not just be on Kamara to go into Chicago and pick up three more sorely-needed points. The back line also has to improve, especially after giving up 13 goals in the five matches prior to last weekend's win. Doing so against a Fire team that is hungry and could still be full of energy from the All-Star festivities will be tough, but the Revolution need to be better.
- Suspended: None
- International Duty: None
- Injury Report: QUESTIONABLE: D Josh Smith
Projected Starting XI (4-4-2, diamond midfield, left to right): Cody Cropper – Chris Tierney, Antonio Mlinar Delamea, Benjamin Angoua, Andrew Farrell – Gershon Koffie, Diego Fagundez, Kelyn Rowe, Lee Nguyen – Kei Kamara, Teal Bunbury
Notes: A loss or a draw for New England against Chicago would give the Revolution 13 away games without a win, which would tie the longest streak for the franchise since the start of 2006 (April 5-October 6, 2012). ... Following his brace against Philadelphia last weekend, Kei Kamara has three goals in his last two MLS games after hitting four in his first 17 games of the season.
The Fire hold a two-game advantage over the Revolution in their all-time meetings, but have been vastly superior when playing at home.
- Overall: Chicago 23 wins (73 goals), New England 21 wins (75 goals), 11 draws
- At Chicago: Chicago 14 wins (47 goals), New England 5 wins (34 goals), 8 draws
Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Assistant Referees: Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho, Andrew Bigelow
Fourth Official: Juan Guzman Jr
VAR: Sorin Stoica